A glum Thai-American boy is dropped off at his delighted grandfather's house for a visit. They try to chat at lunch, but can't understand each other, and the uncomfortable silence grows more and more awkward. In spite of their efforts to connect, the two do not speak the same language or share a culture. It's not until the boy slips away to draw that they finally find common ground: Grandpa likes to tell stories through pictures, too! "Right when I gave up on talking, my grandfather surprised me by revealing a world beyond words. And in a FLASH--we see each other for the first time."
As man and boy weave their illustrations together, "all the things [they] could never say come pouring out." Their heroes look an awful lot like their respective illustrators, with the grandfather's black-and-white, ancient warrior brandishing a beautiful calligraphy brush and the boy's contemporary, anime-style wizard waving a star-topped wand. The swirling, elaborate design develops, the different styles intertwining, until they have created one magnificent world... which is suddenly disrupted by a huge, scaly monster that threatens to tear it apart.
Minh Lê (Let Me Finish!) is a first-generation Vietnamese-American writer and a national early childhood policy expert. Dan Santat is the New York-born son of Thai parents and author and illustrator of the Caldecott Award-winning The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. Their partnership in Drawn Together is as magical as the grandfather and grandson's eventual bond. Mostly wordless panels represent the frustration and confusion the two share at first, followed by vibrant mixed-media artwork as they bring their talent and imagination together.
Drawn Together is a testament to the strength of a shared love to overcome barriers of age, language and culture, and will leave readers, like Grandpa and his grandson, "happily... SPEECHLESS." --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor